Rummanah Aasi
 I hope all of my U.S. readers had a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday and my international readers a great week! I spent the time catching up with family, friends, and of course with my large pile of books that need to be read. I have one more month and I'm feeling optimistic that I will reach my reading goal this year. Wish me luck. :)

Description: My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
  But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
  Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Review: Everything Everything was the darling of the ALA Annual Conference this past summer. I was a bit hesitant in picking it up for a while because of all the hype surrounding it. I've followed along with reader's reviews and they have been across the board. My feelings for this book are mixed. I liked Maddie and her yearning to explore her world outside of her shell both literally and physically. I understood her inner conflict of wanting to be selfish and taking her mother's sacrifice into consideration. Olly was also adorable as the boy next door and I liked how we got to know his own personal problems slowly throughout the book. The romance between Maddie and Olly was very sweet. I also loved the concept of the book and how it played with a variety of formats ranging from email, instant messaging, and drawings.
 What took away my enjoyment of the book were the huge moments where I had to suspend my disbelief in particular Maddie's and her mother's actions. There were plenty of moments that made me scratch my head because it just logistically didn't make any sense. One of the examples that annoyed me so much was Maddie applying for her own credit card as a minor and without parental consent, plus her mother not knowing of her credit card plus what items she bought. How else would Maddie pay her bills if she never worked? I also thought the twist was anticlimactic and wanted to know more what happened next, but the book ended too soon. Overall it was a quick read, but I didn't love it. I would be interested in seeing what Yoon writes next.

Rating: 3.5 stars


Words of Caution: There is some language, allusion to domestic violence, mention of alcoholism, and a small fade to black sex scene. Recommended for Grades 8 and up.

If you like this book try: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, Summer series by Jenny Han, Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett



Description: Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter. She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever. When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

Review: I absolutely adored To All the Boys I Loved Before, which I read earlier this year, and was a little annoyed that I had to wait for a sequel to find see how the story ends. P.S. I Still Love You focuses on the consequences of the actions that took place in the first book. Peter and Lara Jean's relationship hits quite a few bumps in the road in this book, which freaks Lara Jean out. While there are swoon worthy moments in this book, there is plenty of drama. I was a bit annoyed with Lara Jean acting immature, which is such a shame considering how much she grew as a character in the first book. I also liked the addition of John Ambrose McClaren, a boy from Lara Jean's past who was so adorable and I even liked him as much as I like Peter. The book could have easily veered into the love triangle category, but thankfully it doesn't. While not as enjoyable as the first book, I would still recommended it to fans of YA romance. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language, crude humor, a scene of underage drinking, and frank talk of sex. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith



Description: Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Review: From the cover and description of the book, Emmy and Oliver gives off a strong romance vibe, but the romance is a small, subtle part of the story. The book is  much more complex and deals with some strong issues such as parental kidnapping and overprotective parents as well as the evolving relationships between friends. I really appreciated how the author doesn't make Oliver's transition back to his old life easy. He is rightly hurt, angry, and confused about recreating his new identity and new memories before the incident. He is conflicted on how he should feel towards his father who decided to kidnap him and change his life. I also really liked that Emmy was her own strong character who didn't smother Oliver. Like Oliver, she has her own parental issues with her overprotective parents who want to protect her with good intentions, but aren't they doing the same thing as Oliver's dad in a less dramatic fashion? I would definitely recommend this one to readers who like realistic fiction that will engage with this emotionally satisfying, if occasionally heartbreaking, book about a beautiful friendship that's lost and then found.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and a scene of underage drinking at a party. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr, How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Sandiford, What's Broken Between Us by Alexis Bass, The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher, I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
8 Responses
  1. Looks like for the most part these YA contemps worked for you, I found I really struggled with them this year. I have only read Everything Everything on your list, and I really liked the romance and the format, but totally agree about the ending.


  2. I just ordered Emmy & Oliver the other day, even though I really don't read that much realistic fiction. I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy that one and I'm so glad nothing was downplayed AND that the romance was understated.


  3. danya Says:

    I've been seeing some good things about Emmy & Oliver, glad it worked for you as well! Looks like it has some interesting psychological aspects to it. Good to hear your thoughts on Everything, Everything as well — it certainly has been getting buzz, but I think those practical concerns would bug me as well (and have me raising my eyebrows in skepticism, lol).


  4. Kindlemom Says:

    Great reviews for all of these! I haven't read any of these yet but I do have them. I'm sorry the hype for the first didn't quite pay off but it sounds like the other two more than made up for it. ;)


  5. It looks like you are saying the same thing about the first two books as I have seen. Hm... still curious about Everything, Everything despite the head scratching moments. I'm now curious about Emmy and Oliver. I haven't heard much on that one and now I'm curious.

    Hope you had a wonderful holiday!


  6. Jenny Says:

    The twist in Everything, Everything seems to be a really polarizing element where some just rolled with it and others were left frustrated. Sounds like you were in the latter group, but I'm glad it was a pretty solid read otherwise. I have Emmy & Oliver on my shelf, I'm hoping to get to it soon!!!


  7. I've read all three of these books and your thoughts pretty much echoed mine, Rummanah. My favourite from the three would be Emmy & Oliver, a book that I only decided to read once I found out it wasn't really a romance novel.


  8. Anne Bennett Says:

    I'm not a big fan of EVERYTHING EVERYTHING either. I "figured" it out pretty early on and all the pieces just didn't click together right. It might have been the darling at the conference but i doubt it will be the darling of the award season.


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